Words by Carel Nolte

Punta Cana, the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic, abuts the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a region known for a 32km stretch of beaches and crystal clear waters.

Punta Cana covers about 420 000 square metres with a population estimated at 100 000. Despite the area being fairly deserted, the proximity of Punta Cana to other major resort areas make the town one of the top Caribbean destinations. Peak season in Punta Cana tends to run from December to April with prices dropping in the summer and early autumn months.

Punta Cana has a tropical climate. Although it can be mildly windy, the ocean in the area is mainly shallow, with several natural marine pools in which you can relax. The weather is fairly constant, with an average temperature of 26°C. The hottest season lasts from April to November, and during the day temperatures might reach 32°C. From December to March, temperatures during the evening are around 20°C. Very little rain falls around the area, mostly because of the flat landscape. The summer months tend to be very warm and humid – just what you need for a tropical holiday!

Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic and is widely spoken by the locals. English and many other languages are spoken at our resort and you won’t have any problem getting around.

There are many resorts in the region that you can choose from, one of the most popular being Club Med Punta Cana – set alongside a fabulous turquoise lagoon which welcomes couples and families for a stay in paradise. Between a 600-metre stretch of beach and a magnificent coconut grove, guests can enjoy unique experiences such as Club Med Creative by Cirque du Soleil – a creative playground with activities inspired by the best of the famous Cirque du Soleil shows.  “Our resort has over 550 rooms in 3-storey bungalows painted in pastel tones. The bungalows are located in different areas of the Resort, surrounded by gardens, ensuring low density and beautiful blending with the environment,” says Olivier Hannaert, MD of Club Med Southern Africa.

There is a lot to do within most resorts in Punta Cana, but if you do wish to venture out a bit, other destinations nearby are:

  • Santo Domingo –  the first European settlement of the Western Hemisphere. It has preserved its colonial heritage for more than five centuries and is recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Visit the first Cathedral of the Americas (Alcazar de Colon) and the palace of Diego, son of Christopher Columbus.
  • Altos de Chavon: A modern-day artist’s village resembling a 16th-century Mediterranean town is set upon a spectacular hillside cliff overlooking the winding Chavon River.
  • Bavaro Runners: A highly popular safari excursion in the area where you experience the real people, scenery and life of the Dominican Republic. You’ll love the sugarcane plantations!
  • Saona Island: Take a day trip to this spectacular island set in the natural reserve of The Parque Nacional del Este. Relax on powder white sands, where palm-studded beaches meet the soft surf of the Caribbean waters, and where dolphins often swim alongside your catamaran!

No trip to the Caribbean is complete without tasting some of the local rum. Here is a handy guide to the different types:

  • White Rums are generally light-bodied. They are clear and have a subtle flavour. These are primarily used as mixers and blend particularly well with fruit flavours;
  • Golden Rums, also known as Amber Rums, are generally medium-bodied. Most have spent several years ageing in casks, giving them a smooth palate;
  • Dark Rums are traditionally full-bodied, rich, caramel-dominated rums. The richest of these rums are consumed straight up.
  • Añejo and Age-Dated Rums are aged rums from different vintages or batches that are mixed together. The youngest rum in the blend is least 10 years old.